- Written by Chris Eberle
- Published on 16 May 2011
I started with the content Nixeus included on the internal hard drive. Obviously there are no bandwidth issues with files located on the local storage device. All the movies displayed without stutter or issue except one title, Chloe. For some reason, there were audio dropouts and loss of sync between audio and video. Since every other title played fine, I attribute this to a less-than-perfect rip of the original movie. I only mention it because this is a new issue one must be aware of in this new-age of discless media. Errors in file transfer or conversion can cause artifacts and other problems if you aren’t careful.
The Fusion HD Home Screen
Included file formats were mkv and iso. Iso is of interest because it represents an exact image of the original disc. This way you can preserve the menu system and any interactive features. It does take up more drive space however. Mkv rips strip out the extra content and menus so you’re left with only the movie. There is no discernable difference in audio or video quality between these formats. An iso version of Predators looked no better or worse than the mkv version of Alice In Wonderland. I didn’t get a chance to try any lossless audio with the Fusion HD. The movies I received were either Dolby Digital or DTS.
As I said earlier, Windows Media Lossless is not supported so I wasn’t able to stream any music from my computer. Apple Lossless is also a no-go. I tried a few DRM-free MP3s and had no trouble. They sounded compressed of course but this wasn’t the Fusion HD’s fault. The player reproduced the content faithfully. The output level was a bit higher than my Oppo BDP-83 but this was easily compensated for by adjusting the output level with the remote.
Browsing movie titles
A list of music selections
At no time did I detect any coloration or alteration by the Fusion HD in either video or audio content. The playback quality is directly affected by the quality of the files themselves. Obviously higher resolutions and bitrates will look and sound the best. You are only limited by storage space and the Fusion HD allows for unlimited amounts of that. You can use a large internal drive and pretty much any external drive array you wish. With hard disk prices being so low, there is no reason not to load up.
I did encounter a few problems when I accessed the Internet functions of the Fusion HD. Several apps are included for services like YouTube, Picasa, Flickr, ShoutCast, Live365 and Fusion Channel. YouTube provided an OK interface but every video I tried to load had no sound. Buffering was quick and the image ran smoothly but unfortunately the audio would not work. After a talk with Nixeus, I discovered I had to set the AAC audio to PCM rather than Raw in the setup menu. Unfortunately, the manual is not a lot of help here. While it describes the settings and features of the unit, there is very little explanation of options like this. When I first tried ShoutCast, the app would not load at all; issuing a “Network Not Found” error message. This issue turned out to be due to an upgrade of the ShoutCast server. A firmware update on the FusionHD took care of the problem. Live365 is an Internet radio service that has literally thousands of feeds from all over the country. I was able to access stations in the Most Popular category but many of the other providers required a subscription which I did not have. When browsing the feeds, a padlock icon indicates which services require signup. The Fusion Channel showed me lists of video feeds and categories but they did not all work. After my conversation with Nixeus, I learned this is a problem with the various providers’ servers. Most of the channels I tried did work and the video quality varied from poor to decent.
The Fusion HD has a rudimentary web browser which defaults to Google search but you can create lists of favorite websites too. Unfortunately, its compatibility is somewhat limited. There are no plug-ins for file types like PDF for example. Loading Secrets’ website gave me an error message and links would not work. Web browsing can be tedious using only the remote but fortunately, the Fusion HD supports a keyboard and/or mouse through a USB port. This ran me into another limitation, only two USB ports available. If you’re already using one for the WiFi antenna, there’s only one left for additional peripherals. You could plug in a hub if you need more ports.